My adventures at Eid Around Fez
Eid- EL – Kabir – the festival of sacrifice, one of the big Muslim traditions that can last for 3 days. This is to Celebrate Abraham’s instructions to sacrifice his son to Allah.
So where did it all begin – What adventures were possible for me arriving on Morocco mid September to write my book – I certainly was not even thinking about celebrating Eid Moroccan style and yet here I was in the thick of it.
Staying about an hour and half away from Fez in the Holy city of Moulay Idriss, I was becoming accustomed to the daily call to prayer and pilgrims arriving here on a Thursday to pay homage by celebrating in the square with Music, dance and singing after their visit to the Mosque, which went on late into the night – and then there was Eid.
Preparations for Eid starting well in advance with locals saving up for their prized sheep for many months before to celebrate Abrahams obedience to God/ Allah in sacrificing his Son to Him, the Muslim Christmas brought so much humility to me as it was celebrated for what it was, where thought of materialism and commercialism brought the Christian meaning of the celebration of the birth of Jesus to its knees, Whether we are religious or not it so sad to see how Christmas has got so out of hand, lost its meaning of the family gathering and spending some quality time with each other.
So there I was the Saturday before Ede – Market Day in Moulay – As a vegetarian or maybe ex vegetarian now during my stay in Moulay I was awaiting Eid with a little trepidation. I struggle with swotting flies never mind meat to eat. So here I decided to get through this I has to view the world through Moroccan eyes. I came here to not only write my book but also experience Morocco and all the adventures it had to offer me, and so grow and learn through it. I could see this was not going to be easy – I had already attended a Moroccan wedding at the beginning of my stay where I realised why meat was not on my dinner plate in the UK but here there seems to be a completely different energy and again I had decided to take the bull by the horns – what a shame it would be, not to.
Saturday Market day – today painted a totally different picture of Moulay – I sat with my friend in a coffee shop eating the lovely creamy homemade yogurt in coloured beakers, enjoying the warmth of the morning sun, as we watched the goings on in the city. It was only 9 am and already the locals were proudly taking home their prize to offer to Allah and feed the family. Donkeys guided and carts pushed as they were loaded up with Sheep and lambs, there was an atmosphere excitement and anticipation as well as joy in preparation for a big day, with lots of business that was not apparent on other days. Everywhere you looked and turned sheep were being taken home. Those that did not have any other means would try to take the rebelling sheep home on a lead – Did they know their fate already?
I decided to be brave and even though Rose my friend and owner of Dar Zerhoune, warned me against going to the market today –remarking – “I don’t think it will be very nice for you” – I went regardless. Putting on a brave attitude as curiosity go the better of me, I just thought it was a good opportunity to get some photos.
The market was louder than normal and busier, with usual household wares on sale and lots of jelebab stalls, nuts, spices, figs and dates that were now interlaced with sheep vendors. Every now and then you would here a man shouting behind you as the strong determined donkeys were making way down the road, now carrying a bewildered docile sheep or two on their back. Some were comical to watch among the tragedy I was experiencing as their new owners were trying to pull them home on ropes. So many were just refusing to go tugging and pulling on the ropes and standing their ground, after a while one owner gave up and carried him on his shoulders. – No way were they going anywhere .
My enthusiasm was short lived. In western countries we are not used to seeing animals being slaughtered and though that wasn’t to occur till the following Wednesday looking at these animals being hauled onto any transport means they had was too much for me. No photos to remind me. So I returned to my Dar where my friends were waiting for me to descend on Fez for birthday celebrations and more of the preparations for Eid. Fez was pretty much the same in its preparations along narrow Medina streets sheep were being hauled on donkeys to be taken home, sometimes carried on peoples backs or carts, puled reluctantly on leads as friends stop by to feel the sheep to see how much meat and how young or old they are. Even the supermarkets put up tents to sell their sheep – new meets old here and looks so out of place but perfect for convenience………………